NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday night the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville will be closed to the public starting Thursday. The tournament is being held at Bridgestone Arena.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the games will be restricted to essential staff, credentialed media and limited family.
Sankey released the following statement in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
"In light of recent developments beyond our control related to the spread of the coronavirus, including a recommendation from the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, and after consultation with our member universities, we have made the difficult decision to hold the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville without spectators beginning with games of Thursday, March 12. Effective immediately, the policy will also apply to other SEC Championship events and on-campus regular season games scheduled through at least the end of March.
After conferring with local and national health authorities, we remain confident in our ability to safeguard the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and other staff who will be participating as well as the limited number of family members and media who will be in attendance at the tournament.
We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision has caused our fans, especially those who have already traveled to Nashville for the tournament."
The SEC said automatic refunds of ticket purchases will be made to fans who are the original purchaser of the tickets for the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament. In order to get the reimbursement, fans must have bought their tickets from SEC Office or an SEC university, or a verified purchaser on the SEC Ticket Exchange powered by Ticketmaster.
The SEC Network will televise the first and second rounds of the tournament and the quarterfinals evening session. The afternoon session of the quarterfinals, both semifinal matchups and the championship game will air on ESPN.
Additionally, all regular season contests in all sports on SEC campuses will be conducted with similar attendance restrictions. For regular season events, each campus will determine refund policies and procedures.